Tell me about a time when…you adjusted to college life

Editor’s Note: Tell me about a time when…” was created by senior staff columnist and print journalism junior Kelly Schafler with the hope of forming a more active and connected student body. On a campus as big and diverse as UH, it’s easy to sometimes feel insignificant. One of the coolest things about diversity is the ability for it to point out all of the similarities among the student body. Everyone has stories, and we want to hear them.

Once a month, a new prompt will be issued to the student body so we may begin sharing our stories. One or two students and one Daily Cougar staff member will be featured together in this monthly column.

We want to thank all of you who have submitted your stories and who may submit stories.

Going from small town to big city

College life is unique — especially on a campus as diverse, expansive and remarkable as our own.

It’s an incredible feeling when you finally realize that you are no longer a high school student surrounded by people that you either grew up with, were forced to tolerate for four years in preparation for a higher institution, or genuinely met for the first time and built bonds that for many will last a lifetime.

Yet college life is also a somber thought — realizing that many of us will never see many of the people that we spent four years hating, loving or secretly crushing on ever again.

I know I have remained in contact with only a select few close friends from high school whom I still speak to on a regular basis, and I can guarantee that I’m not alone in that.

Yet college has a huge atmosphere — making your own schedule, meeting new people, staying up for parties or waking up early to guess your way through that difficult exam — that is overwhelming and exhilarating.

Though I am a social person, I had a hard time adjusting to college life my first year at UH. I came from a small private school that housed no more than 700 students. The campus was small and intimate, making it hard for you to not at least recognize the face of every student at that school.

Then I came here to UH: a sea of proud red and white. A campus that is full of life and encompasses miles rather than just a block and a half in a small neighborhood.

There were so many people of all different ethnicities and ages — it was thrilling and intimidating.

No more of those days of homeroom for teachers to take attendance — it was just me, myself and I.

I was held accountable for whether or not I went to class — classes I now had to register myself for and grit my teeth and argue with the screen until I finally got all my classes on a reasonable schedule.

I would be able to decide what to take and when to take it; if I wanted a morning schedule, an evening schedule or maybe somewhere in between.

Adjusting to college life was weird at first, but once you become a part of it, you can’t imagine how you tolerated high school and all of its confinements.

College life encompasses so many different opportunities to meet people, hang out, find work, network for internships or just get out and have a great time — yes, I’m referring to Frontier Fiesta.

You just have to possess the drive and courage to get out and do these things.

Once I made the adjustment, I couldn’t imagine ever going back, and UH is the place that made that possible.

Opinion columnist Juanita Deaver is an anthropology freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

Managing to deal with judgment

Some students enter college without having been burdened with hardships in high school. Thus, the transition into college may come as a shock to those individuals.

For me, it was, and still is, difficult maintaining good time management and planning skills. I am an engineering, honors and CLASS student — balancing the course load between those three disciplines, as well as other program requirements, proves to be difficult. Each requires a significant amount of time and participation.

On top of that, I’ve entered the workforce and continue to juggle my activities.

Socially, the transition from high school to college definitely improved. I am able to make friends from all different sorts of backgrounds.

However, perhaps the hardest type of people that I have to deal with are those who judge others for smoking, drinking or other activities that are not necessarily socially approved. But then those same individuals end up doing exactly what they condemn; these people are afraid of judgment but are quick to judge.

As a first-year student, it has been a struggle to accept those types of people, but in the end, it is not my business. People will do what they want, regardless of “their values.”

Laurel Rawley is an engineering freshman.

Stepping out of comfort zones

It was hard being away from home.

I don’t have a car to drive, so I’m walking everywhere I go. I have to re-adjust by learning to clean up after myself, take out the trash, do laundry and all the things that I took for granted when I was at home.

This is my first year here at UH; I transferred from a junior college, but I was living at home when I was going (there).

My parents were excited (about my transfer here) but really nervous. They were scared and were wondering if I was going to be responsible.

I love being here now. It’s really comfortable and easy, and it’s nice not having to be around my parents all the time. I have so much freedom to do what I want to do, and I don’t have to go crazy — I can still be responsible.

The hardest part was finding a place to belong. Of course, there’s always that phase where you’re sitting by yourself at lunch and you’re just doing things by yourself all the time.

Then I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and that’s where I found where I belonged. I started having friends to hang out with, people to eat dinner with, places to go, things to do during the week and different events to go to.

(I suggest) finding an organization that you feel like you belong in and that makes you feel comfortable and strong and also has good values.

If you stay in your room, you won’t meet anybody. … You just have to get out and do things. Force yourself to leave your room and get involved.

Tosobua Ogbe is a bio-chemistry junior.

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